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Dynamic subsidence of Eastern Australia during the Cretaceous

Matthews, Kara J. and Hale, Alina J. and Gurnis, Michael and Müller, R. Dietmar and DiCaprio, Lydia (2011) Dynamic subsidence of Eastern Australia during the Cretaceous. Gondwana Research, 19 (2). pp. 372-383. ISSN 1342-937X. doi:10.1016/

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During the Early Cretaceous Australia's eastward passage over sinking subducted slabs induced widespread dynamic subsidence and formation of a large epeiric sea in the eastern interior. Despite evidence for convergence between Australia and the paleo-Pacific, the subduction zone location has been poorly constrained. Using coupled plate tectonic–mantle convection models, we test two end-member scenarios, one with subduction directly east of Australia's reconstructed continental margin, and a second with subduction translated ~ 1000 km east, implying the existence of a back-arc basin. Our models incorporate a rheological model for the mantle and lithosphere, plate motions since 140 Ma and evolving plate boundaries. While mantle rheology affects the magnitude of surface vertical motions, timing of uplift and subsidence depends on plate boundary geometries and kinematics. Computations with a proximal subduction zone result in accelerated basin subsidence occurring 20 Myr too early compared with tectonic subsidence calculated from well data. This timing offset is reconciled when subduction is shifted eastward. Comparisons between seismic tomography and model temperature cross-sections, and an absence of subduction zone volcanism in eastern Australia in the Early Cretaceous provide support for the back-arc basin scenario.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Matthews, Kara J.0000-0003-3249-3869
Gurnis, Michael0000-0003-1704-597X
Müller, R. Dietmar0000-0002-3334-5764
Additional Information:© 2010 International Association for Gondwana Research. Published by Elsevier. Received 16 February 2010; revised 25 June 2010; accepted 28 June 2010. Available online 13 July 2010. We would like to thank Kerry Gallagher for providing us with well data for the Eromanga and Surat basins. MG was supported by the National Science Foundation under EAR-0810303.
Group:Seismological Laboratory
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Subject Keywords:Geodynamic modelling; Subduction; Australia; Cretaceous; Tectonic subsidence; Basins
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20110307-112257563
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Kara J. Matthews, Alina J. Hale, Michael Gurnis, R. Dietmar Muller, Lydia DiCaprio, Dynamic subsidence of Eastern Australia during the Cretaceous, Gondwana Research, Volume 19, Issue 2, March 2011, Pages 372-383, ISSN 1342-937X, DOI: 10.1016/
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:22690
Deposited On:09 Mar 2011 21:33
Last Modified:09 Nov 2021 16:07

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